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7 HR Initiatives to Boost Productivity in Your Workplace

7 HR Initiatives to Boost Productivity in Your Workplace
7 HR Initiatives to Boost Productivity in Your Workplace
Implementing effective HR initiatives is a great way to boost morale and productivity. Here are seven that could benefit your employees dramatically.
Posted in: Business Management
7 HR Initiatives to Boost Productivity in Your Workplace
7 HR Initiatives to Boost Productivity in Your Workplace

"Are you feeling engaged with your work?

If the answer to that question is 'yes', you are in a minority of just 10%. That's a very exclusive club to be part of, leaving 90% of people outside who simply clock in, go through the motions to complete their tasks and clock out. As an employee, you might relate to those percentages; however, if you are an employer, you would be forgiven for asking how you can ensure your employees remain engaged and, thus, productive.

The answer is effective HR workplace initiatives, designed to support employees in whatever ways possible. Those ways might include reducing the working week to just four days, granting additional leave when a member of staff becomes a grandparent, or providing charity days to connect with a meaningful cause.

But what are going to be effective workplace initiatives, and what will prove to be a waste of time?

In this article, we explore the world of HR initiatives in the workplace and suggest those that might prove suitable for your readers' organisation. If you'd like to know more, we invite you to read on.

Introduction to hr consultants and HR workplace initiatives

The annual State of the Global Workplace Report by management consultancy firm Gallup always makes for interesting reading, but one statistic in the latest edition stuck out: just 10% of UK employees are engaged with their work. 

That leaves 90% of the workforce who simply clock in, go through the motions to complete their tasks, and clock out. Of that 90%, between 59% and 72% are considered to be "quiet quitters" - doing the bare minimum in order to scrape by.

While less-engaged employees can still produce high-quality results, quiet quitting can have a detrimental effect in the workplace. The rise of this phenomenon begs the question: can employers do more to keep their teams engaged, encourage them to go the extra mile, and be as productive as possible in the long term?

Evidence suggests that the answer is likely to be a resounding yes. In our experience as specialist HR consultants, we have seen some very exciting HR workplace initiatives being rolled out across the UK. 

These initiatives have had a tangible impact on both team morale and productivity - increasing profits as a result.

Before we take a look at seven of those initiatives, however, it's important to recognise that they are most advantageous when integrated into a comprehensive HR strategy. 

Quiet quitting isn't likely to be solved by spot fixes, but rather by a detailed plan that reflects your long-term vision, mission statement and goals.

An employee smiling, perhaps due to effective HR initiatives.

Building a comprehensive HR strategy 

Building a comprehensive HR strategy

An HR strategy serves as the blueprint for effective employee management. 

It will codify your approach to everything from recruitment, managing employee benefits and dispute resolution, to training and development, health and safety, and offboarding. 

Each of these elements will be in service of a wider plan, guided by your organisation's experience and core values.

When it comes to implementing this strategy, however, you may want to be more reactive and take advantage of recent trends. Say for example that you want to hire top talent, but find that the marketplace is extremely competitive, with candidates having many opportunities to choose from. 

To achieve this objective, you might determine that benefits such as enhanced holiday allowance and free private medical insurance need to be actively communicated in job descriptions, and on your social media feeds. 

While this may not be codified in your comprehensive HR strategy, it is still in service of it.

In short, a comprehensive HR strategy is the objective, but initiatives can help you to achieve it. 

Seven HR workplace initiatives to boost morale and productivity 

​ Lots of HR workplace initiatives exist, but some are more effective than others. Having spoken to a myriad of organisations across a variety of sectors, these seven can have a tangible impact on employee morale and productivity:

1. Flexible working

According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of people flexibly working since the pandemic. 

In fact, 37% of businesses have seen an increase in the number of requests, ranging from employees who would like to work remotely or on part-time schedules, to compressed workweeks and flexible hours. 

With 72% of employees saying that a good work-life balance is very important to them, flexible working is a way to achieve balance.

With many employees now looking beyond their monthly paycheck and towards a better life experience, flexible working initiatives are here to stay.

 By incorporating flexible working into your suite of HR workplace initiatives, you can attract top talent that prioritises remote work, whilst also retaining staff members who might see flexible working opportunities elsewhere. 

The benfits this can bring to the workplace:

  • Reduced stress and improved work-life balance: Flexible work arrangements, such as working from home, flexitime, or compressed workweeks, can help employees better manage their work-life balance. This can lead to reduced stress levels, increased satisfaction with their work-life balance, and improved overall well-being.
  • Increased autonomy and control: When employees have more control over their work schedules and how they work, they feel more empowered and autonomous. This can lead to increased job satisfaction, motivation, and engagement.
  • Improved focus and productivity: Employees who are able to work during their most productive hours are more likely to be focused and productive. Flexible work arrangements can also help employees avoid distractions and interruptions, which can improve their overall productivity.
  • Improved talent attraction and retention: Flexible work arrangements are becoming increasingly attractive to job seekers, especially millennials and Gen Z. By offering flexible work options, companies can attract and retain top talent.
  • Improved employee engagement and morale: When employees feel valued and trusted by their employers, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated. Flexible work arrangements can demonstrate to employees that their employers care about their well-being and work-life balance.

2. Charity days 

A volunteer beach clean - a great use of a charity day.

Most of us like to imagine that the work we do contributes positively to our communities, and to society as a whole. 

Harvard Business School has found that 70% of Americans believe it's "somewhat" or "very" important for companies to make the world a better place, and younger generations are increasingly demanding greater social responsibility from both brands and their employers.

One of the many ways that businesses can provide this is through charity days, where employees are given one or more days per year to carry out charity work for a cause of their choice. 

These initiatives already contribute around £17 billion to charities each year, and help align the values of a brand to those of an employee. 

Seeing their actions making a positive difference will boost their personal satisfaction as well as their appreciation for the business - driving greater morale and productivity. 

How it can boost Boost Productivity in Your Workplace:

  • Sense of Purpose and Community: Charity days provide employees with an opportunity to connect with a cause they care about, fostering a sense of purpose and belonging within the workplace.
  • Boosted Team Spirit and Collaboration: Working together towards a common goal strengthens team bonds, improves communication, and enhances collaboration among colleagues.
  • Increased Job Satisfaction and Loyalty: Contributing to a positive cause can lead to increased job satisfaction, pride in the company's values, and a stronger sense of loyalty towards the organization.

3. Grandparental leave

Under UK law, both mothers and fathers are legally entitled to some form of parental leave. 

Maternity leave, for example, can last up to a year, while the partners of new mothers can take one to two weeks off. 

Yet at the time of writing this, there is no such legislation in place to provide leave for grandparents when a child is born or adopted - relatives who the burden of childcare often falls on.

Organisations are increasingly stepping into this gap, and making this employee perk a key retention tool. In 2021 Saga Plc announced they would offer a week's grandparental leave, becoming the first major UK company to do so. 

If your comprehensive HR strategy aims to encourage older candidates to step out of retirement and back into the workplace, this incentive can be a great way to do so. 

4. Long-service awards 

A lack of recognition is a major push factor when it comes to employees leaving their roles, with 44% of departing members of staff citing it as the primary reason for their exit. 

Yet the opposite can also be true: employees at companies that make recognition a top priority are 56% less likely to go searching for another job, and 65% of people say they would work harder if their efforts were recognised.

One of the best ways to implement a structured approach to recognition is to introduce long-service awards, whereby team members are acknowledged and celebrated for their dedication. 

These shouldn't be treated simply as tokens of appreciation, but recognition of an enduring commitment to the organisation, and a sign that loyalty and dedication are valued and recognised.

When employees feel appreciated for their long-standing contributions, they are more likely to stay with the company, and continue to put forth their best efforts. 

This recognition also fosters a sense of job security and belonging, as well as a demonstration to other employees of the benefits of longevity - both of which can significantly reduce turnover rates. 

A manager recognising good performance of his employee.

5. Employee share schemes

One of the best ways to foster financial 'togetherness' with your employees is to offer a share scheme, whereby the performance and long-term dedication of your employees are rewarded with stocks. 

Doing so can align the interests of the company with those of its members of staff, and promote an ownership culture, where employees feel like they can have a real impact on the financial prosperity of the business. 

With a monetary stake in the company, your employees are less likely to go elsewhere, boosting retention rates and reducing staff turnover.

6. The four-day week

Between June and December 2022, 61 companies took part in a pilot scheme that trialled a four-day week, while maintaining full pay for all staff. 

Participants included both large and small organisations from a variety of sectors, including marketing, manufacturing, construction, engineering, healthcare, finance, and the arts. 

To reflect that diversity, the four-day week resisted the one-size-fits-all approach whereby all employees had every Friday off. 

Instead, staggered, de-centralised, annualised and conditional structures emerged, each with its own benefits and considerations based on the individual needs of the company.

The trial was - according to the official report - a resounding success, with 56 companies confirming that they would continue with a four-day week, and 18 of those making the change permanent. The main benefit was a marked improvement in staff wellbeing; 39% of employees were less

stressed at the end of the trial than before it began, and 71% had reduced levels of burnout. Those well-being benefits came without cost to the employer, whose revenue enjoyed an average increase of 1.4%, with staff turnover down by 57% over the trial period.

The initiative is still in its infancy, but its benefits have been recognised by several countries that have adopted it wholesale. These include Belgium, where it is now a legal entitlement for all workers in the public or private sector to work 40 hours across four days instead of five.

By adopting, or at least trialling, the four-day week, you are demonstrating that your organisation is at the forefront of workplace wellbeing initiatives that put your employees front and centre. 

Whether it appeals to every employee or not, such a trial illustrates your openness to adopt new ideas , something that's generally appreciated by candidates in the job market, as well as those who are already on board.

7. Unlimited paid time off

 If four-day week seems disruptive and logistically challenging - despite its many benefits - unlimited paid time off would strike many as an unthinkable proposition. Yet companies including Netflix, Kickstarter, LinkedIn, Dropbox, Songkick, and Eventbrite have all adopted the initiative, proving an attractive bonus and logical policy for many employees. 

Depending on the industry, there is a growing sentiment that an employee's performance should be measured by results, rather than the number of days they spend logged in or sitting at their desk.

Unlimited paid holiday is not truly unlimited; taking every single day off would raise questions as to why an employee is employed in the first place!

Instead, holiday time is limited by schedules, workloads and personal circumstances, rather than what is often seen as an arbitrary number (such as 20 days plus bank holidays).

When an employee is solely responsible for their workload - the results of which are easily measured against pre-defined company metrics - unlimited paid holiday can be an excellent tool to motivate them. 

But UPTO requires an environment in which employees feel comfortable taking the holiday without falling behind. 

Failure to provide adequate cover and balance workloads could actually lower the average number of days taken off by members of staff, rather than increase them, and negatively impact morale.

Wrapping up 

HR workplace initiatives are sometimes regarded as optional perks rather than critical components of an organisation's vitality. 

However, this perspective can lead to missed opportunities. Research conducted by Oxford Economics shows that the average cost of replacing an employee is £30,000 - making it far better to incentivise them to stay rather than replacing them.

Concepts such as share schemes and flexible working can boost morale, reduce turnover, and improve people's work-life balance, all of which can raise productivity. 

After all, it is only when employees feel supported, recognised, appreciated and properly accommodated that they are able to do their best work.

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Wednesday, 28 February 2024
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